Platform Revolution

Platform Revolution

All roads lead to Rome, goes one saying. Why Rome ? For the longest time, Rome was the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, before it broke up into the Byzantine Empire in the East that is now Turkey. Fast forward to the 21st century, all global economic exchanges seem to be headed to "platform economy."

AirBnB, Uber, Facebook, Linked In, Google, Apple, SAP, Ten Cent, Snap, Softbank, We Chat, Udemy, Amazon, Skills Share, Duolingo, and Bitcoin, just to name a few, are all transforming the landscape of the global economy as we speak of.

The scale at which they are doing so, while collecting big data along the way, defy the laws of gravity and normal logic of commerce. For example, instead of building powerful end-to-end product with good service, it is the customer reviews that will decide the rise and fall of the company. The customer indeed is king. More importantly, the customer has become a spoiled emperor, as s/he wants the products to be cheap but fantastic too. Companies therefore invest in strong and safe branding to keep the customers happy, after each evaluation. It is another form of political correctness; only that it is commercial correctness on a grand form.  No customer should be offended, across the world, therefore, earning the loyalty and yield of the entire world which straddle the whole platform.

Just why can't Yahoo, or, some companies, venture across this divide, to create a platform economy, remains a huge puzzle. Is it due to the high barrier of entry ?

In the media sector, it is the customers that are generating the news, as is the case with Huffington Post. News that were otherwise "blasted" out, are now "brought in," based on their viral contents and feedback. The logic of the media has been completely inversed.
Editors don't wield as much influence as the customers too.

Invariably, when things do become too much to bear, some news media, such as those in Brunei, had turned to shutting down the news reader comments. The goal not least was to perpetuate the top down model of news delivery, which is anathema to what a "platform economy," demands. Even You Tube is based on the viewers and customers uploading their content. Again, another inversion of the media.

In the education sector, Udemy, Coursera, Dualingo, Skillshare, and Khan Academy, are all aiming at bite size courses. Even Wordpress web design programs can be mastered under 3 hours at less than USD 1; provided you can understand the highly accented English of the Indian coder.

In Singapore, Vivi has allowed the readers and watchers of the media program to upload the sub-titles of the favorite Asian Dramas; not unlike Wikipedia. Invariably, it is not a surprise to see Chinese movies rendered into Vietnamese subtitles in You Tube too.

Everyone is sharing across various platforms and scale, and this is only the first inkling of how dramatically the world of e commerce will change. It is not just commerce, but education, media, finance and the works.